Holdaway Lecture

Photo Credit: Simon Holdaway
by Hames Wed, 10/05/2016 - 14:49

Distinguished Lecturer Simon Holdaway, head of the School of Social Sciences at the University of Auckland (New Zealand), will present a talk on his recent archaeological field work in northern Egypt, one of the sites of the agricultural revolution, at a lecture in Love Library South 102.

His talk, “The Desert Fayum Reinvestigated: Landscape Archaeology in the Fayum Depression, Egypt 10,000 to 6,000 BP,” takes place at 4 p.m. October 11.

Nebraska is known for agriculture and cattle, a legacy of events that unfolded thousands of years ago on distant continents. Ten thousand years ago in northern Egypt, the transition to an agricultural economy was underway. Standard interpretations have it that agricultural practices diffused from further to the east. Here an alternative interpretation is proposed based on the results of years of archaeological field work. An expanded version of low-level food production is used to organize observations concerning paleoenvironment, socioeconomy, settlement, and mobility. While domestic plants and animals were introduced to northern Egypt from elsewhere, the settlement and subsistence system appears unlike any reported for the Middle East. Results indicate considerable variability through time in the way people moved across the northern Egyptian landscape and exploited different types of resources.

Prof. Simon Holdaway holds a personal chair in archaeology at the University of Auckland, New Zealand where he is head of the School of Social Sciences. He also holds honorary chairs at the University of Queensland (Australia), Macquarie University (Australia), and the University of York (UK). Educated at the University of Pennsylvania, his research interests include low-level food production societies, hunter gatherers, landscape archaeology, and the study of material culture. He has active field research programs in arid and tropical regions of Australia, the Fayum region of Egypt, and the North Island of New Zealand. He has written articles on stone artefact analysis, mobility, time theory, and landscape archaeology. His books include A Record in Stone: The Study of Australia's Flaked Stone Artefacts with Nicola Stern, Time in Archaeology with UNL’s LuAnn Wandsnider, and A Geoarchaeology of Aboriginal Landscapes in Semiarid Australia with Patricia Fanning. His latest volume The Desert Fayum Reinvestigated: The Early to Mid-Holocene Landscape Archaeology of the Fayum North Shore, Egypt with Willeke Wendrich will appear later this year published by the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology.

The talk is sponsored by the University of Nebraska Research Council. The public is welcome.